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Happiness Newsletter - 6

The art of being happy requires extracting happiness from common things.

Hello Happiness Fans,

It has been a more than interesting week. The dreary weather we have been having in the East, the increasing incidents of COVID-19 combined with the rising tempo of the political discourse in this country, has me thinking of a one-way ticket to Granada. The only trouble is the New Jersey lockdown against travel has quashed that option. Instead, I took the cheaper way out and opted for the only thing we are not newly forbidden to do – turn off the news. As an old newshound, I miss not keeping up with it, but frankly, my sanity doesn’t. It is a relief from the double din of disappointment funneled into my ears every day. I highly recommend the off switch to turn that smile on.

Now let's read some lighter news to broaden that smile . . .

A Great Reason to Be Happy

There is Good News Concerning the Virus Vaccine!

There is one big thing we can all be happy about as the news is not all negative. The promised vaccine is supposedly just weeks, not months, away. Won’t that a great Christmas present? But there are a lot of questions. I understand it will probably require two vaccinations given about a month apart to get a full immune response. However, Merck reports that it is developing a one-shot vaccine.

The CDC has developed a 4-phase rollout. See the infographic on the left if, like me, you are wondering how the vaccine will be allocated. There will be more allocation news forthcoming as it develops.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed, said, "We plan to have enough vaccine doses available for use in the U.S. population to immunize about 20 million individuals in the month of December, and another 25-30 million per month on an ongoing basis from there on."

Let us all hope that this is an accurate estimate.

As to the length of the protection, Uğur Şahin — the 55-year-old CEO of BioNTech told the NY Post newspaper, " We only have indirect clues so far [immunity duration]. Studies of COVID-19 patients have shown that those with a strong immune response still have that response after six months. I could imagine we could be safe for at least a year," 


In the meantime, while we wait  . . .

What did one DNA say to the other DNA? 

Do these genes make me look fat?


Do Men and Women Proofread Differently, Too?

As a writer, here is a fascinating item that gave me a smile.

A college journalist professor, shared this example with her class to illustrate how writing can skew based on gender. She wrote on the blackboard, “Woman without her man is nothing.” The students were then instructed to insert the proper punctuation. 

The men wrote, “Woman, without her man, is nothing.” 

The women wrote, “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.”


People say money is not the key to happiness, but if you had enough money, you could certainly have a key made.


The NYC Sidewalk Letter Writer

There is an indescribable thrill of receiving a personal letter, written and addressed just to you. It touches your soul in a way that no digital medium can. Alas, few of us have the time anymore to compose one. Stamps are more for collectors than for personal letters. But for four weeks in Park Slope Brooklyn, one man changed that.

The man on the sidewalk, sitting on a folding chair, typing on an old mechanical typewriter perched on a portable table is English professor Brandon Wolf. Wolf is a Brooklyn native and performance artist doing his best to help his community forget about the Covid 19 virus, at least for a few minutes it takes to type personal letters. He is voluntarily typing old fashioned letters for his Brooklyn neighbors, reviving the letter-writing tradition as a means to reach out and comfort one another.

With the misery index higher than usual for locals who have lost their jobs and businesses, and even loved ones receiving a written letter from a friend through the mail is a happy but straightforward way to brighten one’s day and reconnect with friends.

In an interview with the Park Slope Scribe, Woolf, a 37-year-old New York University teacher, offered, “When interpersonal connection is risky, what are other ways where we can be together. What is a better experience than getting a piece of mail in your mailbox from somebody you didn’t expect to hear from?”

His sidewalk sign reads, “Free Letters for Friends Feeling Blue.” Woolf typed away on his old fashioned machine for several hours a few days a week for four weeks recently, typing letters for his Park Slope, Brooklyn neighbors.

By the end of his four-week letter typing stint, Woolf had typed more than fifty letters. Many of the letters were dictated to him. But he reported that his favorite letters were the collaborative efforts between himself and the letter-writer.

His acts are a beautiful example of giving to make others happy and, in doing so, made himself a happier person too. We might all take a giving lesson from Professor Woolf.


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store for Thanksgiving Day, but she couldn't find one big enough for her family's gathering (pre-covid). She turned to the stock boy and asked, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" "No, ma'am," he replied. "Unfortunately, they're all dead."


Hero Removes Prosthetic Leg to Save Man From Sinking Car

Eleven years ago, first responders saved Anthony Capuano’s life.

Capuano, then 17, was struck by a train in Downtown Jersey City; the accident cost him his leg, but the swift arrival of his brother Michael and a paramedic team saved his life, according to 2009 Jersey Journal reports.

Now, Capuano is in the news again — but this time, he is the rescuer.

The Elizabeth resident is hailed as a hero after diving into Newark Bay to save a man trapped in a sinking car.

On Tuesday afternoon, Capuano had just finished a workout when he heard screaming. A group of roughly 20 bystanders had gathered on the shore, he said, watching a car sinking into the Newark Bay.

“Someone had said out loud, ‘Does anybody know how to swim?’” Capuano said. “And I was just like, ‘Oh. I guess that’s me.’ And then I jumped in.”

Capuano, 29, a lifeguard and swim coach at Bayonne’s British Swim School, has been swimming for more than a decade. He finished his lifeguarding courses just before the train accident.

“The day that I lost my leg, I was supposed to pick up my certification card,” he said.

“It was crazy because I got him out in the last second,” he said. “It was that moment when a car goes into a body of water where all the air releases and then the car sinks. That’s when I pulled him out.”

Capuano and a friend, Marcelino Cruz, brought the man back to shore. A statement released by the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office said the driver, 68-year-old Joseph Kadian, was attempting to pull over when the accident occurred. Source:


You Could Have Fooled Me

A lady walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. "I couldn't help noticing how happy you look," she said.

"What's your secret for such a long happy life?"

"I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day," he said. "I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat only greasy foods, and never exercise."

"Oh my! Why that's simply amazing," the lady said.

"How old are you, " she asked?

"Twenty-six," he said.

Last Thoughts

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

What's your pleasure?

“There comes a certain point in life when you have to stop blaming other people for how you feel or the misfortunes in your life. You can’t go through life obsessing about what might have been.”

– Hugh Jackman, Actor

Well, that's It, folks. I can't wait to greet you next week. In the meantime remember science reports that even a forced smile improves our happiness. So promise yourself that you will smile more this week. It is terribly contagious, too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Yours in happiness,


Robert Gill Jr. Author
908 273-5600

18 Bank Street Suite 1, Summit
NJ 07901 United States

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